T S Eliot reads "Ash Wednesday" Part 1

At the Lenten Caravan in 2014, we used a video of T S Eliot reading the start of Ash Wednesday. I have uploaded the video, below.

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Lent As A Spiritual Practice

I suspect that for most people in Cafechurch, Lent is a bit of an unknown. It sounds boringly self-denying, isn't part of our tradition, and flirts dangerously with works righteousness. I hope that this presentation might go a little way to counteract that. Fun fact - mega-evangelist John Wesley used to fast weekly.

However, having said that, wherever spiritual practices are, um, practiced, there is the opportunity for irritating levels of self-righteousness, dull legalism, and the attempt to make God love you (you know that God already loves you anyway, right?)

The Examen

Preparation: You may wish to light a candle. Do whatever helps you to experience unconditional love. For example, imagine yourself in a favourite place with someone whose love you trust, such as a friend, Jesus or God as you understand God. Put your feet flat on the floor; take a few deep breaths from the bottom of your toes, up through your legs, your abdominal muscles and your chest. Breath in that unconditional love, and when you breathe out, fill the space around you with it.

Boardroom Tycoon vs the Epiphany

I have been playing quite a lot of Boardroom Tycoon recently (yes, I know, but I've got more spare time than I'm used to), and it occurred to me that a game that is all about making money, hiring and firing, and generally all about being a mover and a shaker in this world would provide a really useful foil for thinking about the Epiphany: who is the *real* king, and why?

Sharon's Christmas Poem

I love this poem by John J Shea, in which we learn the proper way to repond to the Good News of the Incarnation!

Here is the slideshow I made for it on 10/12/13, uploaded to slideshare for your viewing pleasure!

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Detail from the Isenheim Altarpiece

Faith Stories

Take some time to read this through, quietly, meditatively, slowly - prayerfully on a quiet evening, or early in the morning. Light a candle if you like - that always make me feel spiritual - and hence helps me to concentrate, and to be present in the moment.

This exercise is also available as a pdf attached to this page. Print it out and read through it at leisure, away from your technology!

Ploughs and Faith Stories

Faith development #3 - Adulthood

This is the Third of our Four (or so) presentations on what it means to be an adult in sprituality and faith. Using his book "Finding God Again", we step through John J Shea's description of adulthood as being defined by these attributes: The adult self:

(Almost) Everything I Know About Spirituality I Learned From Epic Movies

Over the weekend I watched The Lone Ranger (yes, I know.) But it got me to thinking - do I want to be a boring, prudish, ineffective religious person, notable mainly for my bad singing, or do I want to be a cool, seeking, spiritual warrior like Johnny Depp? I mean, who wouldn't want to be Johnny Depp?

Tonto looks at his magical horse in The Lone Ranger

Work and Faith

How do we live a human life, with its rhythm of labora et ora - work and pray, and perhaps even work as prayer, and prayer as work?. We don't have easy answers, but the question feels urgent.

One question to be highlighted: how do we work out what we want to do? It seems easy enough, but actually for a lot of us it is surprisingly hard to answer. The journey begins with asking myself: what did I like to do when I was a child?

Philosophy, Story or Stomething Else

This slideshow is part of our journey of trying to understand what it means to be a Christian in our culture. We start here with the Enlightenment, and explore a little bit about its history and continuing significance. It also looks a bit at some of the limitations of the ideas, and concludes with C.S. Lewis's famous idea about Christianity as true myth.

A medieval bridge on the Camino de Santiago in Spain